Villanova breezes past Delaware in opening round
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Justin Moore scored 21 points, Collin Gillespie added 14 and second-seeded Villanova had little trouble with 15th-seeded Delaware, beating the Blue Hens 80-60 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
The Wildcats (27-7) used a 35-10 surge spanning the end of the first half and the start of the second to turn an eight-point deficit into a blowout. Villanova will meet Ohio State in the second round of the South Region on Sunday. The No. 7-seeded Buckeyes unleashed their defense and downed Loyola Chicago 54-41 in the first of four games at PPG Paints Arena.
Delaware (22-13) showed some early fight against its northern neighbor in a meeting of programs separated by 43 miles on the map and considerably more in the college basketball landscape.
It wasn't nearly enough as Villanova overwhelmed the Blue Hens under a barrage of 3-pointers to begin the school's quest for a third national title in seven seasons.
Jyare Davis led Delaware with 17 points but over the course of 40 minutes, Villanova exposed the considerable gulf between schools that are bitter rivals in several sports, just not basketball. Jameer Nelson Jr., the son of the former Saint Joseph's and NBA star who regularly battled the Wildcats as part of the city's Big Five, was limited to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Early on, the Colonial Athletic Association champion Blue Hens didn’t show any nerves or fear against one of the sport's bluebloods.
Of course, it may have helped that graduate forward Dylan Painter began his career at Villanova before transferring to Delaware and knows the Wildcats inside and out.
Painter’s lay-in gave Delaware an early 15-8 lead, easing anxiety that the stage would be too big.
Eventually, however, reality set in.
Gillespie got Villanova on track with a pair of 3-pointers, Samuels and Daniels added one each and the Wildcats closed the first half with a 13-2 burst to take a 35-25 lead into the break.
Villanova's momentum carried over to the second half. Moore poured in 12 points in the first five minutes — including three 3-pointers — as the Wildcats' advantage quickly ballooned to 20 points. Delaware would not get within 16 the rest of the way.
President Joe Biden filled out his brackets, picking Delaware over Gonzaga in the final to win the NCAA Tournament. No surprise, he’s a proud alum.
Biden also selected Delaware to win the women’s tournament.
“I’m proud of all the athletes competing in this year’s NCAA tournament,” he wrote on Twitter. ”But at the end of the day, I’m a @UDelaware guy. Go Blue Hens!"
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